Imaginary Argentina

2014.Oct.01 Wednesday · 0 comments

in Life

I often forget that before coming down to Buenos Aires the first time a decade ago, I really had no idea what the country, nor the city, were like. These days, I often find myself amused when I hear from people headed down this way, with visions of what they’re going to find that are so far off of reality. But it’s not their fault, any more than that I constantly find myself talking to locals who think that everyone in New York lives in an apartment like the gang on Friends or that the entire US is pretty much identical to New York, Washington, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Miami. It’s what we see in the media – primarily television and the movies.

So here I am catching up on season 9 of Bones, and an episode opens up with an aerial pass-by a gorgeous, resort type beach community… and then the caption fades in…


We don’t have a beach in BA – in fact, we’re about 4½ hours from the ocean. (Do take a read through my “geography lesson“, I promise, it’s worthwhile.) We don’t have palm trees. Virtually everyone speaks English – in the show, not in reality. And they’ve all got a hard-on for Americans, who they’re aspiring to be. Not. Oh, and the Argentine national drink is apparently la cola del diablo, “the devil’s tail”, a shot of something or other. Mmm… no, try, Fernet and Coke.


That’s the Casa Rosada, the presidential palace, in the background. The street that the view is hovering over is Avenida de Mayo. It doesn’t have street food (except on the occasional weekend when there’s a cultural fair put on by the Ministry of Culture), nor are there cafes lining both sides of the avenue.


I really have no idea. It actually looks a bit like the Plaza de Armas in Cusco, Peru, though not exactly. It may be that there’s a church or monastery here in town with a plaza and fountain in front of it like that, but it doesn’t ring a bell.


Again, we don’t really have palm trees. Oh, there are a few here and there, I can think of a small stand of them over around Plaza Sicilia off Avenida Libertador. There are likely some houses like this up in the northern suburbs, along the river. Maybe. But it really looks more like southern California. In fact, most of the building scenes look like adobe haciendas from some Mexican backwater town.


They spend a bit of time in Ciudad Evita, which is portrayed as an extremely dangerous place, where the police never go, the buildings are falling apart adobe structures from a hundred years ago, the music is Caribbean, as are the denizens, low riders are cruising the streets, crime is rampant, prostitution on the streets is rampant. While there are undoubtedly some seedy parts of Ciudad Evita, most of it is working and middle class homes, apartment buildings, townhouses, and shop lined streets, most of them built in 1960s and 1970s. Oh, and a large portion of Ciudad Evita is officers’ housing for the nearby Air Force base.

But then, fascinating a show as Bones is, it has never relied all that much on reality, either in the settings, technologies, or abilities of the characters. After all, the Jeffersonian Institute in Washington DC, where most of the show takes place, is actually the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. It’s entertainment. Weird, icky entertainment, but still.

Then again, how many shows do rely on reality in their settings? I regularly used to see shows filmed in and around my neighborhood in New York purporting to be somewhere else entirely, or vice versa.



Bite Marks #4

2014.Sep.30 Tuesday
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There was a rumor that local Recoleta casual spot Delicious Café, Laprida 2015, offers up a Wednesday only hamburger that a few people were touting as the best patty in the city. Given that I’m fond of their pastries, I thought I’d give it a shot one recent hump-day. Luckily, it turns out, it was […]

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If I only had a brain…

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“Why, anybody can have a brain. That’s a very mediocre commodity. Every pusillanimous creature that crawls on the Earth or slinks through slimy seas has a brain.” – Wizard of Oz With the 92 bus pizza trek more or less winding down – given that it’s going to be just occasional visits when I can […]

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Reinventing the Whisk, #1

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I just can’t call this series the Top-Master-Chopped-Iron Chef anymore, so for the moment, I’m going with Reinventing the Whisk as the series continues. It’s just something that came to mind. There was a brief flirtation with something rephrased from Cole Porter’s Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, but I discarded it. So we all know you’ve […]

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Fennel & Chocolate

2014.Sep.26 Friday
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No, I’m not combining those two flavors in one dish, at least not yet…. Simply, the new dishes on the menu last week. We started off with our “vegetables a la tahitienne“, and moved swiftly into this new soup – a base of lots of fennel, with onion, garlic, allspice, salt and pepper, all simmered […]

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92 Bus, Stops 64 – 66

2014.Sep.22 Monday
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The great pizza trek continues, bit by bit at this point as I fill in the missed spots one at a time… these fall into one of three categories, for the most part: only open at night, only sell full pizzas, only sell for takeout or delivery. As such they may not all be in […]

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Veronica’s Soul Sole

2014.Sep.19 Friday
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If you haven’t been keeping up with us on social media, you may not have seen the announcements earlier this week for our next online cooking challenge. We decided on a couple of changes this time around. First off, we announced it a week ahead of time, so people who found it difficult to get […]

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Cabbage Flower Dumplings

2014.Sep.17 Wednesday
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In the scheme of things in the dumpling world, potato gnocchi are a relatively recent entry. If you stop to think about it, the potato is a new world crop, brought back to Europe by explorers sometime during the 16th century, and they didn’t catch on right away. Gnocchi, traditionally, were made from flour, eggs, […]

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Cooking the Books #1

2014.Sep.16 Tuesday
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Like my new little series of “Bite Marks” for mini-restaurant reviews, I’m trying to be a bit more organized, and I thought I’d start with doing much the same with book (and other media) reviews. Let them be gathered together and all that…. So I have this vague recollection that a few years ago someone […]

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